Certification Program

The Certification Program began in the fall of 1993 to provide educational opportunities to planning and zoning board of appeals members.  This program is comprised of three, 3-hour courses. The seminars are held on different nights.  These courses were designed to provide new board members with the basic information necessary to participate in the board meetings.  Topics of discussion cover fundamental information that all board members should know, as well as advanced information that seasoned board members could benefit from. 

  • Session I topics include: the law creating the boards, roles of the different players, board member responsibilities, and their limitations
  • Session II topics  include: the update of case law, State Environmental Quality Review Act case law, and discussions on State Law that may impact planning or zoning related issues – and the implications of some of these decisions
  • Session III consists of two simultaneous sessions: one that focuses on planning board related issues, such as comprehensive plans, site plans and map interpretation, subdivision review, cluster development, special permits, and the State Environmental Quality Review Act; the other focuses on zoning board related issues such as area variances, use variances, and special permits

Each planning board and zoning board of appeals member is required to attend each course once to become certified, and then every other year, they must attend Session II, the "Update of Case Law," to become re-certified.  These courses also count towards the State-mandated, four-hour annual requirement that planning and zoning board members must attend.

Since the program began, 917 people have become certified, and 2,254 have been re-certified (as of April 2021).

The Spring 2021 Certification Courses were all held virtually. Information on these course can be found below, including the presentations and handouts:

Session I - Overview of the Boards:
February 10, 2021
Session II - Update of Case Law:
March 1, 2021
Session III - Zoning Board of Appeals:
April 20, 2021
Session III - Planning Board:
April 29, 2021